James Marape memorably said “LNG is a myth”, I say PNC Party’s claim that under “Peter O’Neill’s management the size of PNG’s economy has almost doubled” is a myth (see here).

Using official statistics from National Statistical Office for nominal GDP (available here), the increase in GDP from when O’Neill first took office in 2011 to 2014 was only 33%. If this seems large, don’t get too excited as this is nominal and includes inflation. The important real GDP growth numbers are smaller, which I discuss in my column in the Sunday Chronicle newspaper this Sunday 14 May.

If we then extrapolate the country’s official GDP statistics (which only goes up to 2014) using the O’Neill Government’s 2017 Budget (available here) we then see that nominal GDP is projected to increase by only 57% under his watch as Prime Minister NOT 100%.

Exhibit A

The right panel of Exhibit A shows annual nominal GDP scaled against 2011 nominal GDP level (and then multiplied by 100). So for 2015 a figure of 144 means that nominal GDP in 2015 was 44% higher than 2011. For O’Neill to have managed a doubling of GDP from 2011, the blue bar should reach 200 – this never happens and stays some distance away from it. For 2016 the value of the blue bar is 157 denoting an increase of 57% from 2011 levels.

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